In Guatemala, protesters set fire to a congressional building to cut costs

In Guatemala, protesters set fire to a congressional building to cut costs

Guatemala’s Antigua – Thousands of protesters took to the streets in the Guatemalan capital on Saturday to set fire to the country’s congressional building in protest of a budget bill passed this week. This has reduced funding for health and education.

Demonstrations in Guatemala City, including peaceful demonstrations in the central plaza, further restored a nation Back-to-back hurricanes That Thousands of people were displaced, Destroyed houses and Destroyed important infrastructure. As heavy rains caused by a second storm hit impoverished cities in the mountains and coastal areas of Guatemala on Wednesday, the country’s Congress passed a budget to cut spending on education and health in support of increasing legislature subsidies.

The bill proposed funding to combat malnutrition and cut funding for the judiciary, sparking immediate outrage and protests across the country.

A group of protesters kicked and set fire to the windows of the Congress building, which sent flames from the entrance, social media videos showed. Police officers and firefighters sprayed tear gas on demonstrators that quickly caught fire, according to local news reports.

On Twitter, Guatemalan President Alejandro Giamate condemned the blaze. “We cannot allow the destruction of public and private property,” he said Said in a tweet, He added, “those who commit” crimes “will be punished with the full force of the law.” In an effort to appease the protesters, the president said in an earlier press release that he was reviewing possible changes to the budget.

But Mr. The frustration of Giamati’s leadership has reached the highest levels of his own cabinet.

On Friday, Vice President Guillermo Castillo said at a news conference that he had “little contact with the president” and offered to resign. Only if Geomety resigns with him. Mr. Mr. Castillo’s comments. Geometry did not respond.

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Demonstrators in Antigua, about an hour west of the capital, said they were outraged by the long-standing corruption in every section of their government. Last year, Former President Jimmy Morales has joined the UN. Expelled the support commission High cases of parasites are being aggressively investigated. The move was widely criticized as an attempt to protect officials accused of abusing public office for their personal enrichment.

Maria Vega, a 42-year-old teacher who brought her two sons to a protest in Antigua, said, “The country is in debt and I’m sorry things will not change.” “We’ve endured a lot over the last few months and it’s frustrating that health and education are not a priority.”

In Guatemala City, people had signs saying they did not have a “president or a congress” to represent them and called on all legislators to resign, and photos were displayed on social media. A black rat tower on the central plaza of the capital is painted with the name of the President. Religious groups, including the leadership of the Roman Catholic Church, Mr. Giamati joined the alliance of voices demanding a veto of the budget.

“The ambiguity that Congress approved the budget is the last straw for me,” said Antonio Duran, an engineer in Antigua. “The corruption shown by governments in Guatemala has affected generations of people – something we need to stop.”

Nick Wirts reports from Natalie Kitroff, Antigua, Guatemala, and Mexico City.

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